Blinks Status, and Recalling Locus Online

Today I collected another batch of SF-related items to post on Locus Online:

Locus Online: Around the Web: Samuel R. Delany; John Scalzi; Reviews by Higgins, Barnett, Tuttle, and Kunzru of books by Leckie, Djuna, Atalla, Siddiqi, and others; “The Lottery” 75 years on; Cosmic horror and science fiction

Judging from Locus Online’s homepage (which I ran from 1997 until late 2017, but no longer do), the Locus staff prefers the heading “Around the Web” to my own category of “Blinks,” so I have switched in this post to their heading and created a new category for blog posts to be classified by and searched on. (I have very little direct interaction with the Locus HQ folks these days.)

Very early on, in the first year or two of launching Locus Online back in 1997, I created some pages to compile content from “around the web” for readers of the site in a way the print magazine obviously could not do. The notion that one website could links to others was actually resisted by some; it meant you might be directing your readers away from your own site and who might become distracted and never get back to yours. But I thought that the ability to link to other sites was one of the great advantages of websites, and early on set up pages for–

  • Aether Vibrations, concerning real world events not directly related to science fiction. Here’s an early example. Its subtitle, “science, fiction, and points in between,” morphed into the subtitle of my blog, “science, fiction, and points beyond.”
  • Field Inspections. Concerning reviews of and articles about science fiction in general publications. Early example here.
  • Media Refractions, concerning SF in film and TV (which inevitably distorts, or refracts, the themes of print SF), an early example here.
  • Later there were some Prose Quotations pages, early example here, quoting opening paragraphs of recent books.

The Prose Quotations eventually became a sidebar on my weekly New Books pages (here’s an early one; I’ll find a later example shortly.)

Referring to my 20 Years of Locus Online page, that I posted in 2017 as I was released from running the site personally, by 2003 I discontinued those individual pages in favor of a “Blinks Page” — wow, here’s an early version of that — which later became a single-column sidebar on the “What’s New” page, and after that was discontinued, a sidebar on the homepage. As shown from June 2010 here.

I was very proud of my work on Locus Online over 20 years, and was grieved, 6 years ago, that it was all taken away from me, as if were some kind of poser, since I didn’t legally “own” the site. Other people assured me they knew better. And I had to believe that they knew what they are doing, to keep the magazine alive.

Here’s another image of the site, as I ran it, in 2009. I think it had character, and cool (very carefully-built, custom) graphics. The current site looks like every other site, a jumble of over-sized graphics and new posts appearing hither and thither around the homepage.

Fortunately, those who took over the website have been proven right, since the subscriptions to the magazine have increased dramatically, especially through their redesigned website. They’re floating in money. They have no worries. They were right.

This previous paragraph is not correct. The opposite is true. But I truly cannot tell whether their redesigned website has had anything to do with their fate, one way or the other. And so I have channeled my efforts into other projects.

And of course, I realize that virtually no one in the publishing industry has jobs for life. Everyone has successes, gets fired, and moves on to other things. Still, I’m the kind of person who will in fact take responsibility for something my entire life, if need be, as I’m still doing with the awards database,

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